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ERIC Number: EJ1128948
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Feb
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Modulation of Task Demands Suggests That Semantic Processing Interferes with the Formation of Episodic Associations
Long, Nicole M.; Kahana, Michael J.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v43 n2 p167-176 Feb 2017
Although episodic and semantic memory share overlapping neural mechanisms, it remains unclear how our pre-existing semantic associations modulate the formation of new, episodic associations. When freely recalling recently studied words, people rely on both episodic and semantic associations, shown through temporal and semantic clustering of responses. We asked whether orienting participants toward semantic associations interferes with or facilitates the formation of episodic associations. We compared electroencephalographic (EEG) activity recorded during the encoding of subsequently recalled words that were either temporally or semantically clustered. Participants studied words with or without a concurrent semantic orienting task. We identified a neural signature of successful episodic association formation whereby high-frequency EEG activity (HFA, 44-100 Hz) overlying left prefrontal regions increased for subsequently temporally clustered words, but only for those words studied without a concurrent semantic orienting task. To confirm that this disruption in the formation of episodic associations was driven by increased semantic processing, we measured the neural correlates of subsequent semantic clustering. We found that HFA increased for subsequently semantically clustered words only for lists with a concurrent semantic orienting task. This dissociation suggests that increased semantic processing of studied items interferes with the neural processes that support the formation of novel episodic associations.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania
Grant or Contract Numbers: MH055687